The emergency physician often has to deal with infectious disease emergencies. The authors have seen four cases of retropharyngeal infection of potentially life-threatening severity in less than 1 year, all were admitted through the emergency department (ED). Reporting these cases is important to increase awareness among emergency physicians of this classic disease entity. The characteristics of the patients are discussed including initial diagnostic approaches and the use of computed tomography (CT) scanning of the neck and mediastinum. One case of retropharyngeal space infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis sero-type W-135 is described. This is the first such reported case. The recommendations are that, in the absence of overt focal infection, a non-surgical approach to the treatment of these patients is indicated. This should include suitable neck roentgenograms, CT scanning, and high-dose, intravenous, β-lactamase-resistant antibiotics.
- Neisseria meningitidis W-135
- Retropharyngeal space infections
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine